Oracle touts progress on Fusion

Oracle Corp. is already claiming to be ahead of plan in its goal of establishing its next generation "Fusion" platform and set of business applications.

That was the message late Wednesday at a Fusion "strategy" event held by Oracle executives in San Francisco. Fusion is an ambitious effort to cobble together Oracle's various lines of applications -- including those from companies it has acquired such as PeopleSoft Inc. and J.D. Edwards & Co. -- into a best-of-breed suite. The Fusion suite will use Oracle's own middleware stack as its technology platform, and the business applications will be delivered in components, Oracle executives said.

Oracle is already halfway to achieving its Fusion promise, said Oracle president Charles Phillips, and the company's developers have defined necessary software functions for the suite.

Oracle officials reiterated a lot of the messages they've been delivering over the past year -- that Fusion will be industry standard and Java-based, will use one data model and will deliver business intelligence capabilities. For example, Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle server technologies development, said the applications will work for users who rely on Microsoft Word documents on the desktop that connect to workflows through an enterprise. The Fusion middleware will allow a user to send Word-based document via a portal to other relevant co-workers. And higher-level employees will be able to get live data as well as have historical trend information on, for example, a supplier's performance.

Although the Fusion project involves a major rewrite of Oracle's applications, the suite will be delivered in 2008 as planned,and customers can migrate at their own pace, said John Wookey, senior vice president of applications development. Oracle's service-oriented architecture (SOA) and common toolset will let partners and customers tweak applications on the fly without breaking a given process. There's also support for a fine-grained level of business processes, he explained, and customers can rapidly change their systems to adapt as needed to their own marketplace.

Oracle also divulged plans to release in 2007 a new upgrade to its World applications called World A9.1 -- a set of green screen business modules acquired when it purchased PeopleSoft.